The vast majority of scientists are honest, but recent years have seen many cases of scientific misconduct come to the scientific misconduct come to the surface, implying there is a systemic problem. The financial and reputational rewards that come with headline- generating results make research fraud all too tempting. High–profile papers on stem cells, superconductivity, psychological priming, drug efficacy and ocean-heat content have been retracted.
… An alarming recent example is the case of the ‘pangolin papers’, four studies hurriedly published in February 2020 conveniently purporting to show that a handful of smuggled pangolins were infected with corona-viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 in 2019. My co-author Dr Alina Chan of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard soon spotted that all four relied on data that had already been published the previous year, and one paper had simply re-described four biological samples under new names.
… As this example shows, the real scandal in science is not the criminal frauds, of which there are always a small number, nor the data dredging and !re-hose publishing, but the gate-keeping, groupthink and bias that politicises some !elds of science, turning it into the dogma known as ‘the science’.
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